TURKEY LIKE ME How What We Say About Animals Lets Us Do What We Do to Animals
There is a famous story of the Sufi master, Hazrat Inayat Khan, who told one of his students to repeat a certain mantra as a way to make spiritual progress. The student protested saying, "How could mere words make a change?" The master then angrily shouted at the student who shrank down in shame and fear at his wrath. Suddenly, the master started laughing, and said, "Now, you understand the power of words!"
Along with this student, George Orwell, and countless observers of the human politic, have grasped the profound influence language has on thought and action. However, since words and language are regarded as property unique to humans, less attention has been given to their role in shaping the lives and images of animals. The turkey has been, similar to many other animals, reduced into a negative image and thus permitted their abuse. Language reifies myth.
The emergence of a unitary scientific model of brain and behaviour for all vertebrates (and some include invertebrates) compels a radical re-conceptualization of human privilege, human language, ethics, and indeed, a new culture. By deconstructing human-animal differences, science has deconstructed the conceptual and political architecture permitting speciesism that includes creating a new language.
The Turkey Like Me Project chronicles turkey values and culture to aid in the support of wild turkey hertitage and the trauma recovery and cultural revitalization of turkeys in captivity.